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Mkhwebane answers tough questions on Estina Dairy Farm probe

Mkhwebane found there were procurement irregularities and maladministration related to the project.

A screengrab of Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane appearing before Parliament's Justice committee on 6 March 2018.

CAPE TOWN – The Public Protector advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane is answering some tough questions in Parliament on Tuesday morning.

Mkhwebane is giving updates on investigations that her office is handling and will also ask for more resources.

But the justice committee also wants her to explain certain high-profile matter's that she's probed, including the Estina Dairy Farm project.

Committee chairperson Mathole Motshekga says: “We all have a responsibility to protect because it is a very important office.”

Mkhwebane found that there were procurement irregularities and maladministration related to the project.

She's outlined some of the issues that she and her team looked into.

“It also went further to say ‘the goods and services which were provided, the prices were highly inflated’.

“Then 2016 again, there’s a letter that came forth that the appointment of Estina as a partner in the project did not follow the necessary procurement processes.”

She admitted that the supposed beneficiaries of the failed project were not interviewed.

“I must indicate the Free State office never investigated, met or interviewed the beneficiaries in this particular, though in the complaint it was also mentioned that there are beneficiaries in this project and they need transparency.”

Mkhwebane explained why she issued her report with haste.

“We need to be issuing this report so that the criminal investigation, especially if people now are being threatened with their lives in this particular project... then the report needs to be issued.”

She recommended that Free State Premier Ace Magashule takes action against all implicated officials involved in the dairy project.

The Democratic Alliance is taking the report on review, labelling it a 'whitewash.'

The findings are also being challenged by lobby group Casac.